Saturday, April 3, 2021

Ascent to the Nest

 Ascent to the Nest (Dragon Approved #2)

The second entry of Ramy Vance and Michael Anderle’s Dragon Approved series opens with blind protagonist Alex listening to cars go by on her front porch, with a week having elapsed since she had finished the Middang3ard expansion and spoken with the Beholder Manny and game’s creator Myrddin. She is recruited to attend a dragonriders’ school, with the two otherworlders assuring that she will be around peers. They take a ride to the airport, take an airplane to Switzerland, and enter the mysterious otherworld via the Hadron Collider, after which they find themselves in a place called the Wasp’s Nest.

Alex meets the griffin Samara, who gives a tour before her training begins, with some occasional mythos injected such as the indistinguishability of male and female dwarves in Middang3ard. There are other deviations from standard fantasy mythos such as no specific creatures, such as nagas, with Alex meeting a friendly one named Primerose, being black and white. Alex meets the pixie Jollies, who aspires to be a dragonrider as well, and becomes her roommate, with certain dragons specifically tailored for riders belonging to diminutive races. At the end, Alex finds herself paired with the intelligent dragon Chine.

Overall, this was a fairly short and sweet fantasy novella that makes me yearn for more and continue with its many sequels, with each of the authors providing their own notes at the end, Vance wanting to write about dragons in space, and Anderle receiving the opportunity to travel the world due to the financial success of the books. There are some minor similarities to other fantasy stories such as Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, given the focus on dragonriders, although there’s enough distinctiveness to keep the Dragon Approved series fresh, and I’m definitely not hesitant to recommend the second book to those who enjoyed the first.

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